When Minnie Randle says she works hard and she plays hard, she means it.

Minnie Randle, a financial associate in the Department of Philosophy, is July’s Employee of the Month.

“I’ve been to all 50 states and that was before I turned 50 years old,” she says. “Now I’m working on 50 cruises, and I’m about to leave for my 35th.”

The irony that Randle was selected July’s Employee of the Month just a few days before she left for a two-week vacation wasn’t lost on her.

“When I was told about being selected for the award that was my first thought — ‘Great. I’m Employee of the Month the same month I’m leaving for the first two-week vacation I’ve ever taken,’ ” she says. “I promise you I do work hard, though.”

Plenty of co-workers and colleagues confirmed that assessment. They say Randle plays a vital role in the success of the Department of Philosophy in her position as a financial associate.

Randle came to UAB in August 1999 after retiring from BellSouth. George Graham, chair of the department at the time, hired Randle to her position, which she thought was a temporary job.

“I hadn’t been here two-hours and he said, ‘Minnie, this is a permanent job,’ ” she says. “I really had to think about it because I hadn’t planned on working full-time again. That was nine years ago.”

Harold Kincaid, Ph.D., now the chair of the department and director of the Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences, mentioned to Randle he was planning its first conference a few months after she started. Randle, who did conference planning at BellSouth, knew Kincaid was going to need some help when he explained his vision.

“In her time here Minnie has now done the logistics for 21 conferences, many of them multiple-day events with an international audience,” Kincaid says. “This means getting speakers paid, organizing meeting space and food, and then being present throughout the event, usually on a weekend. She also has taken on the additional financial responsibility that goes with the center, including grant management.”

Gregory Pence, Ph.D., director of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program, says Randle brings energy and organization to the department.

He credits her for revamping the office several times through the years, improving its efficiency while adding a caring touch. He says Randle is the heart of the department and the Ethics Center.

“Minnie’s personality sparkles, and she genuinely cares about students, other staff, full-time professors and adjunct professors,” Pence says. “She goes out of her way to smile and make newcomers feel welcome.”

Randle’s helping hand extends far beyond the reach of the Humanities Building. She also has rescued a stranded co-worker after a car accident — an incident she had forgotten about until she was reminded of it.

Former faculty member Maureen Kelley was in an accident several years ago on Interstate 20 between Birmingham and Anniston. She called the department and told Randle what happened and that she didn’t have a way home. Randle drove to pick Kelley up, even taking her to the junkyard so she could get her belongings out of her car.

“She is one of the kindest people I know and a true testament to genuine Southern warmth,” Kelley says. “I have never seen her without a cheerful smile on her face, even after the roughest of times. She is someone who always lights up a room, even a windowless room, circa late 1960s.”

Randle has received other honors in the past. She is a past-president of the American Business Women’s Association, and her chapter received its first Star Award under her leadership. She also was selected as the ABWA Woman of the Year in 1990.

Randle says she has no plans to leave UAB any time soon — except for her vacation with her husband Jim. She says she is where God wants her to be at this time in her life.

“I love working here. Besides, somebody has to make the coffee around here,” she says. “I really do enjoy the students and all of my faculty. They are all different, and they are all special. I always tell them not to worry. I tell them, ‘Y’all write the books and papers; I’ll take care of the little stuff.’ ”